No Oscar invite? No worries. Jetsetter's latest Mystery takes you to La La Land, where we're rolling out the red carpet at a haute Sunset Strip hotel and pairing it with the ultimate guide to an insider night on the tiles.
With the Grammy's over and the Oscars less than two weeks away, L.A. is in full award-season frenzy -- there's no more exciting time of year to hit the city. But just because you didn't score a ticket to the Academy Awards doesn't mean you can't come party. We've got your swank hotel and your big night out sorted. Click here to book Jetsetter's swank Mystery Hollywood hotel and read on for your (suggested) agenda.
A primary tenet of Tinseltown is that you look only as good as you feel, so start your stay with a medi-spa treatment and a salon stop.
Paris Hilton and Kate Walsh are among the oft-photographed faces that duck into the chic Melrose Place bungalow that houses Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts. Stars prepping for the red carpet swear by the Ultimate Kate, which begins with an enzymatic exfoliation before a drenching of the epidermis with the line's DermalQuench serum. From there it's on to the collagen- and elastin-stimulating DermaLucent red LED light facial, and voila, camera-ready face
For the locks to complete your look, head to trendy Robertson Boulevard: celebs like Salma Hayek and Heather Graham frequent the stylists of MikiSharon Salon. The starlet's favorite treatment? Brazilian Keratin, which locks in moisture, leaving you frizz-free. With a male-dominated team of stylists, this is the place for men to tame their mane too, and if frizz is getting you down from the marine layer, ask for the Yuko System straightener anti-curl treatment.
You can't expect to get past the velvet rope if you don't have the right duds.
For the hottest looks from L.A.'s best designers, the destination boutique du jour is Church on Santa Monica. There's no sign on this cavernous former upholstery shop, shrouded in ivy, the interior is stripped to the beams, and there are rumpled wool jackets by Endovanera and S&M-inspired silk dresses by Valerj Pobega hanging from old pipes.
On Melrose Avenue, more ivy adorns where it covers the Fred Segal emporium, the original and still the definitive L.A. shopping experience. Its Mauro Café is the place to recharge and be seen recharging with a nibble and a glass of wine.
Maxfield L.A.'s mod edifice announces its intentions as a museum of the world's highest fashions, with designs by Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Dior and Gucci on exhibit in a Gothic loft.
The cutting-edge styles of John Varvatos add flair to the wardrobes of such rock stars as Adam Levine, Mick Jagger and the boys of Green Day. Stop in at his Melrose outpost for everything from tailored pinstriped blazers to leather jackets and heavy metal chain bracelets.
Because you can't live on artisan cocktails alone (we've tried), our dinner picks aren't just for salad-pushing models. Whether you're nibbling on the latest in molecular gastronomy, fresh-from-the-sea bass or a pile of pasta, these joints are substantial stomach liners.
Top Chef winner (and one of L.A.'s hottest toques) Michael Voltaggio opened his gastronomical masterpiece ink. last November. Just down Melrose from his gourmet sandwich shop ink.sack (a must-stop for lunch), the industrial-chic space resembles an art gallery more than a restaurant, with Chuck Close paintings and an omakase menu served in handmade pottery. Try the octopus served on buttered-popcorn puree and garnished with spinach and piquillo peppers.
At Eveleigh, Australian chef Jordan Toft's farm-to-table fare is served on a reclaimed-wood back deck overlooking West Hollywood and there's an on-site herb garden. Our picks? Whole roasted sea bass with wilted summer greens and beurre blanc, and a terrific slow-roasted ribeye with white onion, salsa verde and confit fingerlings.
For old-school celeb spotting head to Dan Tana's. This Rat Pack-esque Italian eatery has been open for decades, but by 8 p.m. on any given night there's an endless line out the door. The most coveted red naugahyde tables are in the bar area, where the likes of Sean Penn and George Clooney twirl forkfuls of spaghetti.
And the morning after, feed that hangover at the just-opened Kitchen 24 on N. Cahuenga Blvd. Indulge your inner child with chocolate chip pancakes, or go healthy with the Mediterranean tofu scramble. For a late night treat try an "adult" milkshake and Daisy's homemade cupcake of the day (Saturday's is cookie dough with cookie dough frosting).
Now that you're glammed and fueled up, you needn't go far to hit L.A.'s hottest bars and clubs. The hood's most notorious nightlife resides on Hollywood Boulevard, where you'll rock at exclusive music clubs and drink at retro cocktail lounges. To get past that velvet rope, have the cracker-jack concierge at our mystery hotel call ahead to get you on the list. With that formality out of the way, show up early to the club, look the part and don't get cheap now -- splurging on bottle service is an easy ticket to VIP treatment.
Angelenos love nothing more than an underground club. The Sayers Club is an intimate live music venue behind a bright yellow door in Papaya King, an incarnation of the famous New York City hot dog stand. Once the hydraulic stage is dropped from the ceiling into the lounge, everybody from Prince to Jeremy Piven (seriously, he plays a mean drum set) is known to get up and jam.
Rihanna is among the superstars who get down at Greystone Manor Supperclub, nightlife king Sam Nazarian's latest hit, awash in luxe furnishings and draped with chandeliers. Dance or sip a cucumber watermelon margarita while watching the showgirls shakin' it -- just don't overlook the short rib grilled cheese if you're still nursing an appetite.
Hidden behind the iconic Musso and Frank's restaurant, the Writer's Room is a literary haunt dating from 1919 that was restored to its former bacchanalian glory last October under the aegis of famed mixologist Daniel "Dandy" Nelson. Actor Jason Segal is among the investors and frequenters and there's a 1920s Paris-style copper elevator-cage-cum-cabana where VIPs kick back and drink up the scene -- and Kaffir Rickeys: lime juice, lime-lemongrass syrup and gin topped with carbonated coconut water.
-- Carole Dixon, Jetsetter correspondent